In the past I have had bad experiences with prepaid cards. When I worked as a manager at Banana Republic it was always an issue when people tried to pay with the gift cards from major credit card companies. If they were not entered in properly the card would be denied and you would freeze up the funds for 7-8 business days. That is a huge hassle for people on both ends the retailer and the customer so I never recommend them to people.
American Express prepaid card is the perfect solution. This card is used like a credit card with no odd handling instructions. You simply swipe it like any other credit card and proceed, easy as can be. When I arrived at the airport to leave for BlogHer I decided to curb check my bags. The nice gentleman took my bags for me then I handed him my America Express prepaid card and easy as can be I paid my baggage fee and was on my way.
Since I wanted to use my American Express prepaid card while traveling to BlogHer I needed it loaded quick so I went to CVS and bought a Money Pak card. Something to know with this method you must purchase the Monay Pak card with cash. The reason is since you are loading it instantly on your American Express preaid card they need a guarantee of the funds hence the need for cash. I did have to pay a $4.95 fee but was happy to do so to have the funds instantly available. I went straqight home and loaded the money within 20 minutes of purchase and it went directly on. I was thrilled with how easy it was to load and how instant! I even loaded some more money one today so I could take my roommate out to lunch for her birthday.
Throughout the rest of my trip to San Diego I plan on ony using my American Express prepaid card. I like the security, ease of use as well as the budgeting aspect. This way if a fabulous pair of shoes tempt me if the funds are not on the card then they just aren’t meant to be on my feet, at least not on this trip.
I am receiving compensation from American Express while I act as a spokesperson, but all opinions are my own.
Over the years my husband and I have tried many different methods to manage our money. The cash only method is a very popular method among people who are trying to get their finances under control and is very effective when it works but it is not for everyone, I know it is not for my family.
American Express has come up with a very convenient and easy way to put a non-negotiable limit on your spending. The new American Express prepaid card can be used like a regular credit card but the difference is you must load your funds on it. By loading on your funds you decide how much money you have access to. This allows you to easily budget your funds and not accidentally overspend. Another great feature is that you can not overdraw your American Express prepaid card. It is impossible to blow your budget since the card will simply not allow you to spend more than you have loaded on it. In this aspect it is exactly like the cash method you can only spend what you have and when it is gone it is gone. Plus there are no hidden fees so it costs you no more than using cash when you transfer funds from your bank.
Loading the funds on your American Express prepaid card is very easy to do. You can register a bank account, which you will have to verify so it is very secure, or you can load your card with cash using Money Pak. Money Pak is an easy to use way to load money on your American Express prepaid card if you do not want to link a bank account. Simply head to a local Walgreens, Kmart, Walamrt, CVS, 7 Eleven or Rite Aid and purchase a Money Pak gift card up to $500. Then get online and enter your Money Pak code and your funds will be loaded that same day. There is a fee of $4.95 but this allows you to make same day deposits where bank transfers take up to 5 business days to appear.
American Express is helping me get all those little incidentals I need for BlogHer and I am purchasing them using my American Express prepaid card. Ordering the card was simple and I love that it is allowing me to stick to my set budget for BlogHer. To learn more about the American Express prepaid card or order your own visit www.AmericanExpress.com/prepaid
I am receiving compensation from American Express while I act as a spokesperson, but all opinions are my own.
Everyone wants to keep cool during the hot Summer months but no one wants to pay the high bills that come with running air conditioning all summer long. While I love to be cold at night and want the air conditioning on then I am not a huge fan of air conditioning in the day. I find that I tend to stay locked inside if the air conditioning is running which is never a good thing, plus the house can start to feel and smell stale from a lack of fresh air. So how do you stay cool without spending a ton of money? Here are a few things you can do to keep your house cool without running the air conditioning constantly. Remember you will not achieve a cold house but a comfortable and cool house is not hard to get.
- Window Coverings. You want to evaluate what kind of window coverings you are using. Are they insulating? You want to notice where the sun comes in and make sure those window coverings are effective insulators. Then when the sun is beaming in you keep those windows covered. By covering the windows you keep the extra heat out and the cool air in.
- Open and Close Your Windows. While you make think leaving your windows open all the time is the way to go that is not necessarily true. On cool mornings open up all your windows then as the day gets warmer shut then and the blinds on the appropriate windows and your house will stay cooler inside longer. At night is the best time to leave your windows open. If you are concerned about safety do not leave ground floor windows open. If like us everything is on the ground floor you may want to look into windows that have the safety latch that locks them open only about 2 inches.
- Ceiling Fans. Ceiling fans are a great way to keep the air moving and your house cool.They can be very inexpensive and easy to install, we have them in every bedroom and almost every room in the house. Keep the running when you are home, they are inexpensive to run and every effective. If you have a whole house fan these are amazingly effective at cooling down your house if you do not have one you may want to look into one as a cost saving item. We had a whole house fan in our old home and do not now, the difference is amazing the whole house fan cooled our house in 10 minutes on cool evenings by sucking in the cool air.
- Turn Off The Lights. Use the natural sunlight as much as possible and turn off your lights they not only create extra heat but are unnecessary on a sunny day.
- Fans. Use fans in your house to keep air circulating. I prefer to use tower fans since they are safer with kids but nothing is as safe and powerful as the Dyson Air Multiplier 10″ Silver/White. This small bladeless fan is amazingly effective, compact and safe for the kids with no blades read my full review HERE.
- Turn It Off. Be aware of all the heat generating electronics and appliances in your house and turn them off. Try cooking in a crock pot, outside on the grill or with a toaster oven if possible instead of using your whole oven. Make sure that electronics are turned off and even unplugged when not in use.
- Dress Appropriately. It is summer wear summer clothes, there is no need to turn on your air conditioning so you can wear long sleeves or pants, dress for the weather and you will be much more comfortable in the heat.
- Turn It Up. If you are worried that your house will be too hot when you get home from being gone and are unable to leave windows open turn on your air conditioning but turn it up so it does not run constantly all day. Pick a temp that is not too cool so when you get home you can open up the house and turn on fans but haven’t run your a/c all day long.
How do you beat the summer heat with out air conditioning?
For 6 months now we have not been paying a telephone bill and yet we have a land line. How? We use Ooma. Ooma is a telephone system that you buy which utilizes your internet to give you free phone service. I know there are many free or cheap phone services out there and my in-laws have tried each and every one and they like the best Ooma. So a year long positive service experience we jumped on board and have been very happy. Here is why Ooma is better than other phone services in my opinion. First you buy a box instead of phones. The box doubles as an answering machine and then any phone you have that plugs into a phone jack will work with Ooma. Every time I get a message at home I get a text on my cell phone then I can listen to my messages from anywhere for free. You can customize your Ooma account so it will show up properly in other people’s caller ID and it works for free local and long distance phone calls. The down side, the initial investment is around $250 for the box but you never pay another penny. Right now on Amazon Ooma Telo Free Home Phone Service box is on sale for $199.99 plus free shipping. The other drawback is if your internet goes down so does your phone. The initial investment may sound steep but if it is broken down over a year that is only $17 a month and after that your phone is free for the rest of your life. Like I said we have had Ooma for 6 months and are very happy with it.
Now that you have coupons and you have got them organized it is time to use them to your advantage and save lots of money. First you need to be aware of your stores coupon policies. Do they double, how many of the same coupon will they take, can you stack coupons, do they have a loyalty program? These are some of the questions you need to ask before you decide what stores you will be frequenting.
- Do they have a loyalty program? Loyalty programs are a must so be sure to accurately register with the store because often you will get emails or mailing with coupons in them. Make sure you always take your card with you when you go shopping because often prices are different for those without loyalty cards.
- Do they double coupons? Lots of stores are now doubling coupons but many have limitations of how many they will double. In my area Meijer doubles coupons that are $.99 or less but they will only double 2 of the same coupon so if you want to use more you need to make multiple purchases. Kroger in my area will double coupons us to $.99 and they have no limit to the number they will double. My Giant Eagle will double coupons up to $.99 and they limit the number of coupons to 2.
- Can you stack coupons? Some stores have their own store coupons and you can stack them with manufacturer coupons. Meijer has a site called Mealbox and you can use those coupons with manufacturer coupons to maximize your savings. Target also has their own store coupons that can be combined with manufacturer coupons. Target does limit you to printing 2 of each coupon while Meijer has no limit. CVS and Walgreens also allow you to stack coupons, for more details on these stores go HERE and HERE.
- One Coupon Per Item. One tip that shocked me and is not well known is that when a store says one coupon per item they really mean it. So when you take advantage of a buy one get one free deal you can use 2 coupons. Ultimately you are paying half price for each so use 2 coupons to maximize your savings. Some stores will even let you use a buy 1 get 1 free coupon on an item that is buy 1 get 1 free this makes them both free. *Most Walgreens and Kmarts do not allow this.
- Pay attention to Catalinas. Catalinas are those coupons that print out after you have purchased a set number of items. They are usually a dollar amount off that you can use on your next purchase. Make sure you pay attention to catalina deals because if you buy too few items you will miss out on the catalina and if you buy too many you will not get as good a deal.